Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When the Baby of the Family Starts School


My new sixth grader!


Fourth Grader!



 Second Grader!




Kindergartner!  He was so excited....it was hard to get a decent first day picture!


And then he walked into his classroom without looking back.

My Grandma is over 90 years old and a spitfire.  When you asked her how she spends her days, she'll rattle off half a dozen projects.  Usually, the tasks are as monumental as plucking the lint off all her sweaters or organizing her silverware drawers.  I surmise that my Grandmother needs to stay active so she doesn't have time to think and reflect.  That her constant state of busyness protects her from feelings of sadness and loss that could creep in should she have any idle moments.

I mimicked my Grandmother yesterday.  I packed my day with "stuff."  I left no minute unscheduled.  I worried that any lingering time could leave me with moments to deliberate on the magnitude of the day.  And then, I would melt into a puddle of tears.  

It was the day I anticipated for years: the day my last child started kindergarten.  Since I first became a mom, this was the moment that brought tears to my eyes.

The thing about us mothers is we have to be stealth with our emotions; the tears could not be shed in the presence of my son.  And so I'd make up excuses about why my eyes seemed puffy (allergies!) and watery (could it be a virus?).  I certainly didn't want to damper the excitement bubbling up within the son ready to embark upon his kindergarten year.

Kindergarten drop off was done in the school cafeteria.  His teacher announced his name and Collin jumped into line and eagerly followed his class out the door.  He didn't once turn around.  He never clung to my leg.  He didn't shed one single tear.

It was the way I wanted him to leave, but as I watched him exit the door a little part of my heart felt like it was missing.  My side felt like it had been kicked.

It was the end of an era.  For the last decade plus, I've had a little one in tow.  I've enjoyed the moments, but often pined for time alone to get one.single.thing.done.  Deep down, I knew the price for productivity would be an empty home.  I wasn't yet ready to pay that price.

Yesterday morning, Collin said, "Mom, I bet this is the best day of your life.  With me gone, now you'll have time all day with Dad!"

I smiled.

It certainly wasn't the best day of my life, but I realized it wasn't the worst either.

One day Collin will understand the day the baby of the family starts school conjures up a slew of emotions.  It's a day where nostalgia, heartache, and loneliness hit, but a twinge of excitement for a new chapter in our lives flickers too.    





   

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